Hello, and thank you for stopping in! Let me give you a quick introduction to who I am, the purpose of TrentBooks.com, and how this site can benefit you as a reader. I hope you find what you’re looking for, and look forward to reading your comments.
Who is this guy?
My name is Kenny Trent. I was named after Kenneth Mattingly, who returned home from the final orbital test flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-4) on July 4, 1982 – the day I was born.
Skip ahead a few years…
At the ripe young age of 19, I began serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at my own expense in Paraguay, right in the heart of South America. While there, I became fluent in Spanish and Guarani, a local indigenous language (think “Navajo” and you’re getting warmer). I also spent 10 months in the city Cuidad Del Este (“City of the East”), which borders Brazil. During that time, I became conversant in Portuguese. I loved my experience in Paraguay and reflect with fondness on my time there.
Two years later, I attended Brigham Young University – Idaho, where I met my lovely wife, Liza, began our family, and studied two more languages: Biblical Hebrew, and Ancient Greek. After graduating, I went to work and enrolled in a distance learning German 101 class, which proved to be my biggest language failure (I’ll come back to this). During this time we added to our family and now have 5 beautiful children.
A few years later, I returned to school for a Masters Degree at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. I studied Communications, and I quickly became enthralled with the cultural elements transmitted through the mass media. My thesis work specifically focused on how languages and cultures are transmitted from one demographic to another (shortcut through the academic jargon: I wanted to learn how people learned languages through the media). I discovered two things: First, there is a very simple, very real process that everyone in my study followed when learning languages. Second, motivation was the single greatest contributor to their language success. It was also very complex.
After I finished my graduate work, I decided to do two things. First I wanted to test these theories on myself while learning another language vastly different from English. While Guarani was grammatically different, it did use the same characters for writing (we can thank the Spanish Conquistadors for that). So I began to study Japanese, which uses a very different alphabet system from that of English. I also decided to learn it in a completely different way than the other languages I studied, just to prove my theories were correct.
The second thing I decided to do after my graduate work was to make the information available to the general public. I converted my thesis from an academic tongue-twister to a much more straightforward, easily digested book. Cedar Fort Publishing offered me a contract to publish the book, and I happily agreed. It’s a great resource for learning a language the natural way, without any expensive programs or costly materials.
What’s TrentBooks.com all about, anyway?
TrentBooks.com is dedicated to helping you learn your language – any language – using principles and strategies for learning languages. I have seen some websites and books with excellent presentation strategies – and many who take a dump truck approach to teaching. But I have yet to find one that gives more than just a superficial guide to how you should learn the language. TrentBooks.com is my platform to bridge this gap. It doesn’t matter what language you’re learning – Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian … you name it – there are proven strategies to help you succeed. My goal is to present those strategies in a meaningful way to help you on your path to fluency.
As of this writing, I’m also working on a manuscript to more fully address motivation. As I continue to write and publish, TrentBooks.com will be the home of my authored works. But for now, let’s focus on languages.
So what’s in it for me?
I’m glad you asked! Assuming you follow my advice, there is absolutely no reason you can’t learn a second (third, fourth, etc.) language as well as the cultural elements that go along with it. Unfortunately, many language programs only address the cultural aspect of the language as it pertains to the words spoken. My book illustrates a bit more why that isn’t enough for true fluency, but the bottom line is that language and culture are inseparable.
I hope to provide valuable information, based on my personal experience with 7 languages and academic research, to help you succeed. Please look around and feel free to drop me a line with your thoughts or questions.